One-third of people in Hong Kong think Taiwan should work toward independence.
It’s the highest number since 1994 when 36 percent of Hongkongers said the island should do so, Apple Daily reported Wednesday, citing a survey by the University of Hong Kong (HKU).
The poll by the HKU Public Opinion Program (POP) interviewed 1,000 respondents by phone from March 9 to 12.
About 32.8 percent of the respondents said they support independence for Taiwan against 53.3 percent who don’t.
The gap between the two sides is the smallest in 20 years.
Support for Taiwan independence was highest among people between 18 and 29, with more than half of the answers in the affirmative.
POP director Robert Chung said Hong Kong people tend to be more sympathetic toward Taiwan as their own problems with Beijing worsen.
Six in 10 said “one country, two systems” is not appropriate for Taiwan, up eight points from six months ago to the highest level since the survey began in 1996.
By comparison, only 30 percent answered in the affirmative, a record low.
Reunification with mainland China was least preferred by 60 percent of the interviewees against less than 30 percent who support the idea.
Half of those who support Taiwan independence wants it rejoin the United Nations compared with 35 percent that said it should not.
Although most Hong Kong people are against Taiwan independence, they favor a bigger role for Taipei in the world community.
Political commentator Ivan Choy said the survey results imply Hong Kong people are projecting their resistance to political pressure from Beijing by standing with Taiwan against a common adversary.
That shows Beijing’s hardline approach to cross-border relations is wrong, he said.
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